Holders Rob Roy kept alive their hopes of progress in the Sectional League Cup with a thumping win over Rossvale, writes Neil Anderson.
But they may yet rue some poor defending with the group on course to be decided by goal difference following Wednesday night’s final games.
Rob Roy nearly opened the scoring in the third minute but Willie Sawyers was ruled to be offside.
Lee Gallacher and Daniel Mackenzie were combining well down the left and the opening ten minutes produced a wave of corners but efforts from Gary McCulloch and Andrew Johnstone did not hit the target.
Rossvale were dangerous on the counter and Scott Walker did well to clear in the 12th minute to clear when Liam McGonigle broke through.
However Rob Roy opened the scoring in the 15th minute when, after a surging run from Robert Maguire through midfield, Gary Carroll found himself in space in the box and slotted low past Jamie Donnelly.
Further Rob Roy attacks followed and at times desperate defending from the home side kept out efforts from McCulloch, Gallacher, Carroll and Sawyers.
The main outlet for Rossvale was a long ball to Lee Cryans and in the 27th minute Danny Boyle tangled with the tall centre forward at the edge of the box, ending up with a booking and an injured ankle as the home bench shouted for a penalty.
However from the resultant free-kick Gallacher ran the length of the park in a mazy breakaway and from Mackenzie’s excellent cross Sawyers slotted home to double the lead.
This was Willie’s last contribution, as he had to be replaced by Kevin Watt due to an earlier knee injury.
It took until the 42nd minute for Rabs keeper Steven McNeil to make a save and a minute later McGonigle shot in to the side netting as Rossvale tried to get back in to the game.
Rossvale started the second half better, pulling back a goal ex-Rabs player Jamie Hunter, who netted after McNeil’s parry.
The turning point came on 59 minutes when Walker was fouled at the edge of the box and a penalty awarded.
Keeper Donnelly was booked for protesting and after Watt converted the spot kick, continued protestations earned him a second yellow and a red card.
Substitute keeper Phil Bannister was beaten in the 64th minute when Johnstone headed home from eight yards after another excellent Mackenzie cross.
Rob Roy were enjoying the increased space and in the 80th minute a spectacular 20-yard drive from substitute Sean McCall flew into Bannister’s top corner.
Rossvale pulled another goal back through Hunter who was left in acres of space to score at the far post from a cross Rob Roy failed to deal with.
This setback spurred the visitors on and within a minute they scored again when Carroll deftly chipped the ball home after good work from Mackenzie.
In the final minute Bannister handled the ball outside his box but Watt shot wide from the resultant free-kick.